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Kingston Reaffirms Need for Entitlement Reform

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Citing a government report release today that provided a bleak outlook for Social Security and Medicare, Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) renewed his call for entitlement reform noting the growing urgency of the matter.

The report, released by the Social Security and Medicare Trustees, projects that Social Security -- which provides retirement income for 53 million older Americans -- faces a cash flow deficit of $41 billion excluding interest this year alone.

After a $7 billion deficit next year, the report found that the program would encounter a brief three-year period of surpluses before returning to deficits every year starting in 2015.

The report also found that Medicare Part A, its hospital insurance program, will face a deficit this year of $33 billion. Like Social Security, the program faces deficits for years to come.

"If Speaker Pelosi wants to call a special session this August, let's work on this and not another bailout," said Kingston. "We can't bury our heads in the sand any longer. While tough choices lie ahead, they're only getting tougher and the problem is growing unchecked. Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work -- our children and grandchildren are counting on us."

The report itself highlights the need to address the problem quickly stating, "The projected trust fund shortfalls should be addressed in a timely way so that necessary changes can be phased in gradually and workers can be given time to plan for them. Implementing changes sooner will allow the needed revenue increases or benefit reductions to be spread over more generation."

While the report paints a slightly rosier picture for Medicare, the Associated Press reported that President Obama's chief Medicare statistician, Richard Foster, warned that the report's financial projections "do not represent a reasonable expectation."

Foster noted in an April report that the 12 years of additional solvency being attributed to the health care overhaul passed in March represented little more than an "appearance" resulting from how cuts to Medicare are handled under federal accounting rules. That report also found that law forces 7 million seniors off their current Medicare coverage.

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